Using a gel printing plate to create papercraft projects is so easy and it is so much fun! I use the 12″ x 14″ gel plate from Gelli Arts, but there are lots of silicone gel printing plates on the market as well as a variety of different plate sizes and shapes.
Actually, despite the word “plate”, a gel printing plate is soft, supple and somewhat “squishy” to the touch (kind of like the texture of a gummy candy).
Designs and patterns are created by thinly spreading acrylic paint on the gel plate, creating impressions in the paint, and then pressing and smoothing paper on top of the paint. The gel plate instantly holds even the slightest impression, and using a medium-body or heavy-body acrylic paint will yield several “pulls”.
Watch a complete video tutorial HERE:
Thinking about trying it? Here is what you will need:
A gel press printing plate;
Acrylic paint (several colors);
Several sheets of white cardstock (although other colors will do fine, too);
Random household items for making impressions in the paint;
Water spray bottle;
Baby wipes and paper towels for clean up;
(Optional) acrylic blending gel to extend paint drying time.
- Place a few drips of paint at random on the gel plate. Use up to three coordinating colors on the plate at the same time. If you are using a quick-drying or very thin acrylic paint, you may want to drip a few drops of blending gel with your colors, as well.
- Use a brayer to evenly spread the paint over the surface of the gel plate as desired.
- Using paint combs and other everyday objects, create patterns and impressions in the smoothed paint. You can use stencils, bubble wrap, string, foam stamps, or practically anything that has an interesting shape. You can even write in the paint with a cotton swab — just remember that your words will come out backwards once you print them! Be creative and use your imagination!
- Carefully lay a sheet of cardstock on top of the painted gel plate. Use your hands or the brayer to press and smooth the paper firmly. You are transferring the paint to the cardstock, so be very thorough as you press and smooth it against the gel plate.
- Peel up the cardstock and witness the magic!
- Repeat this process again and again, using different colors and impressions in the paint. Use the same few sheets of paper to layer a variety of paint “pulls” and yield endless patterns! Here are full-size photos and close-up photos of several prints created in one sitting:
- Clean the printing plate by spritzing with water and wiping with a baby wipe or paper towel. EASY!
Use your original printed paper (plus your paint-stained impression items) to create scrapbook pages, greeting cards, or other papercrafts!
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